Investigation underway into church fire in Christopher - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Investigation underway into church fire in Christopher

(Source: cnews.kfvs12.com) (Source: cnews.kfvs12.com)
CHRISTOPHER, IL (KFVS) -

A Heartland community is left in shock after a well-known landmark goes up in flames. Firefighters were called to the First Baptist Church just before 4:30 Monday morning. Fire crews say the blaze started in the back of the building and spread forward in just a few hours.

Crews were back on scene Tuesday morning. Christopher Fire Captain Tim Crawford says crews are tearing down part of the wall so investigators can get inside and look around. He says the investigation will take a few days.

Jim and Phyllis Kirkpatrick just celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. Six decades ago, the happy couple stood outside the First Baptist Church smiling. For decades the Kirkpatrick's have lived just behind the church. But Monday morning they got a surprise wake up.

"Got up and went to the door and they told us the fire was out there," Jim Kirkpatrick said.  

"I'm very sad," Phyllis Kirkpatrick said. "I went there all my life. My children, I took them to church every Sunday there. We just grew up in this neighborhood"

Debbie Kretz, the Kirkpatrick's daughter, says she got a call an early morning call about the fire and rushed to check on her parents.

"When I got here flames were coming out and coming into their garage," Kretz said. "Well, the debris from the church was on top of the garage, so we were worried if I would have to get my mom out of the house or not."

Kretz uses a the wheelchair ramp in the back of the house to get her mother out, which Monday morning was just a few steps from a massive fire. But Kirkpatrick never had to leave her home, thanks to efforts by several area fire fighters.

"We have a mutual aid agreement from surrounding communities. It involved probably a good 30-35 fire fighters fighting that structure this morning." Christopher Fire Captain Tim Crawford said.  

Pastor Terry Musgrave lives next door to the church.  He has been the pastor of the church for 15 years and was at home when the fire started. He says the church averages about 25 in attendance. Monday afternoon Heartland News caught up with Musgrave, who had no comment.

But Kirkpatrick says for several years on Sundays many people walked in the front doors. She adds what happened to the church is a real loss for the community.

"I'm just sorry that it happened," Kirkpatrick said. "I don't think it can be replaced."

Both the Illinois State Fire Marshal and ATF agents are investigating the fire.

Copyright 2011 KFVS. All rights reserved.

  • Heartland NewsMore>>

  • First Alert: Scattered showers will continue today

    First Alert: Scattered showers will continue today

    Thursday, April 26 2018 7:45 AM EDT2018-04-26 11:45:59 GMT
    (Source: Pixabay)(Source: Pixabay)
    (Source: Pixabay)(Source: Pixabay)

    Laura Wibbenmeyer says scattered showers will continue to rotate through parts of the area today. 

    Laura Wibbenmeyer says scattered showers will continue to rotate through parts of the area today. 

  • Entrepreneurs wanted at Walmart Open Call for products

    Entrepreneurs wanted at Walmart Open Call for products

    Thursday, April 26 2018 7:39 AM EDT2018-04-26 11:39:24 GMT
    (Source: Walmart)(Source: Walmart)
    (Source: Walmart)(Source: Walmart)

    Walmart is asking for made-in-the-USA products and giving people a chance to secure a seat at a table with one of the company’s buyers by visiting walmart-jump.com; the deadline is May 4.

    Walmart is asking for made-in-the-USA products and giving people a chance to secure a seat at a table with one of the company’s buyers by visiting walmart-jump.com; the deadline is May 4.

  • Senate OKs raising smoking to those under 21

    Senate OKs raising smoking to those under 21

    Thursday, April 26 2018 7:10 AM EDT2018-04-26 11:10:02 GMT
    Senate voted to raise the smoking age to 21 (Source: Pixabay)Senate voted to raise the smoking age to 21 (Source: Pixabay)

    The Illinois Senate has voted to raise the smoking age from 18 to 21.

    The Illinois Senate has voted to raise the smoking age from 18 to 21.

  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • Accused serial rapist and killer undetected working as cop

    Accused serial rapist and killer undetected working as cop

    Thursday, April 26 2018 2:39 AM EDT2018-04-26 06:39:08 GMT
    Thursday, April 26 2018 9:31 AM EDT2018-04-26 13:31:27 GMT
    (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli). Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones, left, talks to reporters about the arrest Joesph James DeAngelo, seen in photo, on suspicion of committing a string of violent crimes in the 1970's and 1980's after a news conference. ...(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli). Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones, left, talks to reporters about the arrest Joesph James DeAngelo, seen in photo, on suspicion of committing a string of violent crimes in the 1970's and 1980's after a news conference. ...

    The suspected Golden State Killer became less prolific but deadlier after losing his job as a police officer.

    The suspected Golden State Killer became less prolific but deadlier after losing his job as a police officer.

  • Texas gang member executed for killing girl, grandmother

    Texas gang member executed for killing girl, grandmother

    Wednesday, April 25 2018 12:55 AM EDT2018-04-25 04:55:40 GMT
    Thursday, April 26 2018 1:23 AM EDT2018-04-26 05:23:56 GMT
    (Texas Department of Criminal Justice via AP). This undated photo provided by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice shows Erick Davila. Attorneys for the Texas death row inmate want the U.S. Supreme Court to halt his scheduled execution this week fo...(Texas Department of Criminal Justice via AP). This undated photo provided by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice shows Erick Davila. Attorneys for the Texas death row inmate want the U.S. Supreme Court to halt his scheduled execution this week fo...
    Attorneys for a condemned Texas prisoner are asking the US Supreme Court to halt his execution for killing a young girl and her grandmother in 2008.
    Attorneys for a condemned Texas prisoner are asking the US Supreme Court to halt his execution for killing a young girl and her grandmother in 2008.
  • Geologists say N. Korea's nuclear test site likely collapsed

    Geologists say N. Korea's nuclear test site likely collapsed

    Wednesday, April 25 2018 9:28 PM EDT2018-04-26 01:28:35 GMT
    Thursday, April 26 2018 9:20 AM EDT2018-04-26 13:20:41 GMT
    A study by Chinese geologists shows the mountain where North Korea has conducted five successive nuclear bomb tests has collapsed. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un recently announced an end to the nation’s nuclear testing. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)A study by Chinese geologists shows the mountain where North Korea has conducted five successive nuclear bomb tests has collapsed. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un recently announced an end to the nation’s nuclear testing. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)
    A study by Chinese geologists shows the mountain where North Korea has conducted five successive nuclear bomb tests has collapsed. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un recently announced an end to the nation’s nuclear testing. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)A study by Chinese geologists shows the mountain where North Korea has conducted five successive nuclear bomb tests has collapsed. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un recently announced an end to the nation’s nuclear testing. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

    A study by Chinese geologists shows the mountain where North Korea has conducted five successive nuclear bomb tests has collapsed.

    A study by Chinese geologists shows the mountain where North Korea has conducted five successive nuclear bomb tests has collapsed.

Powered by Frankly